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Colour inspiration from photographs

Starting off with a blank canvas in any room can be daunting. There are so many choices and decisions to make. Most often, we choose the furniture, the fittings and trimmings and with luck, we will get to put pictures up on the walls.

But how often have you decorated a room and then found that none of your wall art fits well with your new colour scheme?

Well here’s a different idea. Choose an image that you like and pick the colour palette out of it, then decorate using that colour palette.

If you love golden hues, have a look at this:

Dori Moreno, photographer, golden, seascape

To read more …….

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Dress your walls

Have a look around you. Are the walls of the room that you are sitting in bare or covered with pictures that you don’t like or just don’t seem to fit? We often go to great lengths to get the right furniture, the right ornaments, the right bedding, but we don’t give the same consideration to what we put on our walls.

Dressing a wall can be daunting. There are so many options and choices available these days and that in itself can be paralyzing. Often we are afraid to make a mistake, so we do nothing. A room, however, looks unfinished with bare walls and all your hard work and effort into choosing all your other furnishings won’t amount to much.

But where do you start? Well, consider the following questions:

    • Is there a dominant colour in the room that you want to carry through on the walls or do you want something on the wall that will “break up” the dominant colours of everything else in the room?
    • What “mood” do you want to create in the room? Certain images create movement, whilst others are more static.
    • Do you want an energetic feel to the room or something serene and peaceful?
    • What about a fun element? Some images can be quirky and pose questions to the viewer.

The best way for me to illustrate how an image can change the look and feeling of a room is with photographs.

This is the guest room in my house with one of my images printed onto canvas above the bed.

www.dorimoreno.com, images

My guest room

Colour

I wanted the room to be colourful without being over bearing. I also wanted to bring nature in, hence the colour palette and the landscape scene.

But what if I had brought in more orange to complement the lampshades? Have a look at these.

www.dorimoreno.com, daisies, Namaqualand, South Africa

A blanket of daisies covers the ground, Namaqualand, South Africa

The green and orange in this image complements the bedding and the lampshades very well.  One thing that does not work well for me with this image is how busy it makes the room look. The image “competes” too much with the bedding.

A better option may be this image.

Daisies, Namaqualand, South Africa, www.dorimoreno.com

The dominant serenity of the blue sky quietens things down

Whilst we are on the theme of matching colours, have a look at these three images.

sunrise, Port St Johns, www.dorimoreno.com, South Africa

Sunrise, Port St Johns, South Africa
This image dominates the room too much

Durban, www.dorimoreno.com, South Africa, paddlers

Paddlers, Durban, South Africa
There is too much contrast in colours between lampshades and image

www.dorimoreno.com, sunrise, South Africa

Bird at sunrise, South Africa
Although this is a tranquil image, the colours are too dominant

These images dominate the room too much and even though they are serene, tranquil images, the bright colour creates the opposite effect in the room. The yellow/ orange in these images is also a completely different shade to that of the lampshades creating too much of a contrast.

The image below of a baobab silhouette works better but, again, is too busy and competes with the pattern on the lampshades.

www.dorimoreno.com, baobab tree, South Africa

Baobab silhouette, South Africa
The pattern of the baobab branches competes with other patterns in the room

Movement

To create energy and movement in a room, images of animate things work well. Consider the images below.

www.dorimoreno.com, giraffe, South Africa, Kruger National Park

Giraffe walking, South Africa
The giraffe walking from left to right creates a sense of movement in and around the room

www.dorimoreno.com, elephant, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Elephants, South Africa
The image of the elephants “extends” the room .

www.dorimoreno.com, zebra, wildlife, South Africa

Zebra, South Africa
The movement is in the tails and this has a more grounding effect.

From a colour palette point of view, these images all work well as they do not compete with other elements in the room and the images are visually strong enough to stand out and make a statement on their own.

The giraffe walking from left to right creates a sense of movement in and around the room, whilst the image of the elephants “extends” the room because the elephants are walking down a road that goes into the wall.

The image of the zebra has some movement to it but does not “take” you anywhere because they are standing still. The movement is in the tails and this has a more grounding effect.

www.dorimoreno.com, South Africa, buffalo, Kruger National Park

Buffalo, South Africa
There is no sense of movement because they are standing completely still

The buffalo image creates no sense of movement because they are standing completely still. Even though you know they are living creatures, the image is static.

www.dorimoreno.com, Namaqualand, South Africa

Namaqualand, South Africa
Movement is created by the road

The image above creates movement even though there are no living creatures in it. This is because the road visually takes you somewhere. This also creates a sense of mystery and adventure.

Choosing images with a lot of movement and a different colour palette can also work well. These images complement the room but stand out visually, creating energy.

www.dorimoreno.com, South Africa, Humpback whale

Humpback whale breaching, South Africa
A lot of energy is created by the movement of such a large creature

www.dorimoreno.com, waves, South Africa

Crashing waves, South Africa
Powerful wave movement creates energy

Dynamism

Dynamic energy can also be created by the angle the image was taken. Have a look at these:

www.dorimoreno.com, Clarens, South Africa

Clarens, South Africa
The slanted angle creates a dynamic energy

www.dorimoreno.com, South Africa, Langebaan

Langebaan, South Africa
The feeling created can be quite uncomfortable for many people

The slanted angle creates a dynamic energy because the viewer knows that this is not how it is supposed to be. Images like these are a very personal choice. The feeling created can be quite uncomfortable for many people.

Shapes and Signs

You may want to bring in signs or shapes into the room, which can be done in a “not obvious” way. This image of the giraffes standing with their necks crossed creates an X, which may subconsciously create perceptions of negativity.

Giraffe, www.dorimoreno.com, South Africa, Kruger National Park

Two giraffes stand with their necks intertwined
You may want to bring in signs or shapes into the room

Quirky

The image of the windows are a quirky, fun way of bringing in a different element. The image asks more questions than it answers and as such may create too much of a busy mind-set for someone staying in your guest room. It may also feel like the space is too open or unsafe.

www.dorimoreno.com, South Africa

Windows, South Africa
The windows are a quirky, fun way of bringing in a different element

There are many other things to take into account too, such as, what medium to print on, how much to pay, where to source from and should you install yourself or have it professionally done.

These are questions which I will cover in further blogs which I will be writing in the weeks to come.

Hopefully by reading this blog you have a greater understanding of what to take into account when choosing to dress your walls. The choices are endless and your walls should be customized to your liking just as the rest of your house is.

All the images used for illustration purposes in this blog are taken by me. Feel free to visit www.dorimoreno.com for a large selection of images.  Other sites to consider are:

http://cormacmccreesh.photoshelter.com

http://www.richarddutoit.com

http://stevemccurry.com

Many photographers offer their images for sale, so if you come across a site and see something that you like, drop them a mail. Chances are they will sell you their image.

Oh, and don’t forget the most important thing. And that is to have fun in the process of dressing up your walls!

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Beautiful people of the Mekong Delta – Vietnam

Having just returned from traveling around Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for 6 weeks, I now have the un-enviable task of sorting and editing through thousands of photographs.

Whilst it’s hard, tiring work sitting in front of a computer for hours on end, it also gives me the opportunity to re-live the experiences of the past weeks. Not to mention the excitement of coming across a stunning image I don’t recall having taken, or the bitter disappointment at an image I do recall taking but which does not look like I expected it to.

The process will take many weeks, but as I work through the photographs, I will share them with you.

This is the first small selection of portrait photos taken at the floating markets of the Mekong delta where a smile is never far away, and even on an overcast, rainy day, the world is a bright and beautiful place.

I hope you find the people in these images as amazing as I did.

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Mekong Delta – Vietnam

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Mekong Delta – Vietnam

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Mekong Delta – Vietnam

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Mekong Delta – Vietnam

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Mekong Delta – Vietnam

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Mekong Delta – Vietnam

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Mekong Delta – Vietnam

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Mekong Delta – Vietnam

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Mekong Delta – Vietnam

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Mekong Delta – Vietnam

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Mekong Delta – Vietnam

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Mekong Delta – Vietnam

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Mekong Delta – Vietnam

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Mekong Delta – Vietnam

Mekong Delta - Vietnam

Mekong Delta – Vietnam

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Writings about South East Asia

I am currently travelling around Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. I am updating my blog with my experiences under the travel section.

Join me by reading all about it!

Sunrise over Phnom Penh

Sunrise over Phnom Penh

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 12 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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The year in review

At this time of year I always take time to look back at the year and the photos I have taken. Photos are a great reminder for me of what I have focussed energy and time on, and help define what I want to continue to do the following year and what I want to let go of.

The year started off well with a much yearned for trip to India. The experience was overwhelming in every sense. During the first week there, I vowed never to return again. By the time I left I vowed that I would definitely return not just once, but probably numerous times.

India challenges you in every way

India challenges you in every way

The return home from my India trip was bitter-sweet. Just as I felt I had got into the swing of things and was really getting to enjoy the experience, it was time to leave. Home meant downloading hundreds of photos and settling down to a day-to-day routine again. Shortly after getting back, my family visited for a few days. My great-nephew Cruz was only a couple of months old at the time.

Cruz at two months

Cruz at two months

March arrived and with it came Hurricane Irina. South Africa does not experience too many natural disasters, so it was exciting to witness the big wave action that the hurricane created. It was a great opportunity to grab some shots of the men on their surfboards, braving the water and winds to have some fun.

Jason Ribbink catches a wave during Hurricane Irina

Jason Ribbink catches a wave during Hurricane Irina

A long road trip to Port Elizabeth to see if we could get some early sardine run action was the theme for April. We spent endless hours searching and hoping for some activity. In between, I managed to take in some land based scenery and took photos of the incredible landscape and windy conditions that are part and parcel of this city.

The wind whips up the sand on a large sand dune in Port Elizabeth

The wind whips up the sand on a large sand dune in Port Elizabeth

In between celebrating my birthday and organising our move and renovations to our newly purchased home during May, we made time to attend the Paddle Out for sharks and to take photographs of Trevor Hutton training for his Deep Freedive for Sharks.

Paddle Out for sharks and Trevor Hutton training

Paddle Out for sharks and Trevor Hutton training

A June visit to Johannesburg to visit family, saw my return to a rented studio space to take some family photos. Having had my own studio, it was odd to hire a space and equipment.

Cruz and Gabi in the studio

Cruz and Gabi in the studio

June/ July is the time when the sardine run action starts in earnest if it’s going to happen at all. Port St Johns on the East Coast is the place to be, so we spent a week there, going out every day for up to 8 hours a day, waiting, watching, waiting…

During this time the humpback whales migrate northwards with their young and I was witness to more than one spectacular breach from them.

Port St Johns and the magical breaching humpback whales

Port St Johns and the magical breaching humpback whales

We knew that winter had really arrived when many parts of the country were blanketed in snow. Our proximity to the Drakensberg and surrounding areas meant I was able to take some photos . Snow is always magical, but when it happens in a country that hardly ever experiences it, it’s even more exciting.

Snow in South Africa

Snow in South Africa

Living at the coast is a new experience for me and I love everything associated with the lifestyle of living close to the sea. A short drive from our home, is a great spot for wind surfing. On a bright sunny day, I went to see what was going on and had a good time photographing the kites.

Wind surfing in Durban

Wind surfing in Durban

It had been a long time since I had been to the Kruger National Park, so November was an exciting month when we visited the park and Ithala Game reserve for 10 days. I was treated to many wonderful sighting and posted a number of photos in my Kruger Park blog posts . These three photos are a few of my favorite ones.

The wonders of the Kruger National Park

The wonders of the Kruger National Park

Following our amazing experiences in the game parks, we visited the Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve which is an hours drive from Durban and spent an enjoyable day photographing mostly zebra.

The beach-front skate park is always a great place to practice some slow shutter speed movement photography and the surfers are always an attraction.

Skating, surfing and wildlife watching

Skating, surfing and wildlife watching

I would love to say that December was a photography nirvana, but the truth is that the holiday season means that most of the month is spent with family celebrating Christmas. Planning for our trip to South East Asia from 1 January has also taken some time, so alas there is no December photo.

I will make up for it when I return from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in February with hundreds if not thousands of photographs on memory cards, ready to be shared.

For me, 2012 has been an exciting, fulfilling and busy year. I have travelled, experienced many wonderful moments with family, set up a firm base in a coastal city with the man of my dreams and have been fit and healthy throughout. I am grateful and bow out of the year with dreams and aspirations that 2013 will be just as amazing.

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Wildlife in Africa

There are many wonders to experience in South Africa. We have one of the largest National Parks in the world, the Kruger National Park. There are many others on a smaller scale, but they all hold their own charm and surprises.

Following my previous themed blogs, here is one with no particular animal theme. This is a small collection of photos showing the diversity available for anyone to feast their eyes on.

Enjoy

Death in nature

Death in nature

Dominance

Dominance

Leading road

Leading road

Too close for comfort

Too close for comfort

A meal for the vultures

A meal for the vultures

Hyena with spots

Hyena with spots

Let sleeping hyena lie!

Let sleeping hyena lie!

Amidst giants

Amidst giants

Fever tree forest

Fever tree forest

Sandy road

Sandy road

African colours

African colours

Hippo with a purpose

Hippo with a purpose

Hiding in the long grass

Hiding in the long grass

Leopard in the tree

Leopard in the tree

A leopard crosses my path

A leopard crosses my path

Standing by the road

Standing by the road

A rhino with horn intact and baby

A rhino with horn intact and baby

Bright yellow

Bright yellow

Peek a boo

Peek a boo

Winding road

Winding road

Long grass

Long grass

Dry rivers

Dry rivers

Beautiful light in the fever tree forest

Beautiful light in the fever tree forest

Baobab silhoutte

Baobab silhoutte

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Stripes galore with zebra in Africa

Zebra are fascinating. Not because they do anything spectacular but because of their wonderful black and white markings.

Read more……

 

Image 7

Mother and baby zebra

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Great fun with Kruger Park and Ithala giraffes

I had a lot of fun photographing giraffes both in the Kruger National Park and at Ithala Game Reserve during a recent trip.

Read more…..

Giraffe 20

Graceful and elegant – the perfect African ambassador

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SETE – Sports and Events Tourism Exchange

Last week was a busy one! We were appointed the official photographers to the annual SETE event, aimed at promoting sporting and event tourism to South Africa. The event will be hosted in Durban for another two years, and it was great to take part of it during its maiden year in the sunny KwaZulu Natal region.

The SETE gala dinner took place on Wednesday evening. The evening kicked off with welcomes from the KwaZulu Natal MEC for Economic Development Tourism, Mike Mabuyakhulu and Mayor of Durban, James Nxumalo. South Africa’s olympic heroes, Chad le Clos and Bridgette Hartley were in attendance and regaled their incredible Olympic gold win experiences to the audience. Once the formalities were out-of-the-way, SAMA winner Lira entertained the crowd late into the evening.

The event held a number of workshops and discussions which the fifty international hosted buyers attended in order to hear about South Africa’s world-class infrastructure  in terms of stadia, venues and services. Over 60 exhibitors displayed their products and services, and also benefited form the networking opportunities the event created.

Although the hours were long and the pace quite hectic, I made some great contacts and met wonderful people. I felt proud of our country and our achievements and loved the reaction of the overseas visitors during the tour of the Moses Mabhida stadium.

Experiencing my world through someone else’s eyes, was a great reminder that what we have in this country is amazingly incredible.

Big thanks to Carol Weaving of Thebe Exhibitions and Projects Group and her team of dedicated staff who worked much harder and longer than I did to put this great event together. I look forward to doing it all again next year!

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A beachy weekend!

I spent a lot of time on the beach this weekend, and as always I had a camera with me. Just my little point and shoot, but I always land up seeing something I want to photograph and this weekend was no different.

On my hour-long walk, chasing thoughts from my head and just taking in the beauty that the sea is, I came across a group of people engrossed in a ceremonial act of sorts. I quickly snapped away some shots as they stood in line facing out to sea, with their reflections in the wet sand behind them. To me, it looked like they were watching themselves performing their religious or spiritual acts.

I love shadows and reflections, so just had fun taking a couple of pics whilst I had the camera with me.

In the afternoon I spent some time at a different beach, watching people kite surfing. The wind was pumping and it was perfect conditions for the kites to fly high. When I got bored with watching I walked along, looking for shells and driftwood. I took out my camera and played around with the panoramic format. I think these are so cool and fun!

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The magic of Port St Johns

Port St Johns lies on the East coast of South Africa in an area commonly referred to as the Wild Coast.

Living in Durban, I have visited the area a number of times over the last year and am totally in love with it. The rural scenery and majestic landscapes are a photographer’s dream.

This time, I went down to spend a week looking for the much awaited annual “sardine run”. This event happens during the winter months when a sub species of the sardine migrate along the coast. The current and cold water push the sardines close to shore, and following the sardines are predators of all sorts – dolphins, sharks, whales and gannets.

To spend 8 hours at sea is challenging. Southern African seas are notorious for being cold and wild. Often, nothing happens for hours on end and you wonder what on earth possessed you to do this crazy thing.

Then when you least expect it, the birds start flying around and diving into the water, the dolphins start hunting and the action starts. This year has been a slow one. There has been hunting activity, but not on sardines. They remain elusive. There are many theories about the sardine run and why it’s been a non – event for the last few years. Global warming and over fishing are the most obvious ones, but nobody knows for sure.

But every year the die hard come back to experience the wonders of the sea and wait for that one magical moment where the sea literally bubbles and seethes with marine life activity. I am already planning my next trip back and I don’t think I am going to wait a whole year! In fact, I will be going back next month.

If you are keen on the experience of a lifetime, contact me. I can offer advice and help arrange logistics.

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Freediving, Trevor and some new records

On Sunday morning I took my new camera and underwater housing to the pool on the beachfront. Trevor Hutton, South African international record holder freediver, was going to do some pool training and invited us along to take some pics.

Trevor is training for his campaign “Deep freedive for Sharks”. He is hoping to set some amazing records and you can read all about his training on his blog.

Here are a few pics taken.

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Paddle Out for sharks

Yesterday I attended and took photographs at a “paddle out” for sharks. In order to explain what this is and how it came about, I need to provide some background information.

South Africa is one of a few countries that utilises shark nets to “protect” people from shark attacks. These nets are used in and around the KwaZulu Natal coastline.

The KZN Sharks Board, who install and manage the nets, have been around for more than 40 years. There is ample information on their website where they clearly state their mandate, which is to:

  • Protect bathers against shark attacks
  • Research shark behaviour, feeding and breeding
  • Educate tourists and scholars

Their mandate, KwaZulu Natal Sharks Board Act , 2008 (Act No. 5 of 2008) can also be found on their website.

Every year, hundreds of sharks and other marine animals get caught in the nets.  Some are released, but many are dead by the time the nets are checked. Those that are released, probably die not too soon after being released due to their weakened state. They become prey for other healthier marine predators.

A couple of weeks ago, 14 tiger sharks were caught up in the nets. Of these, 9 were released and 5 were dead. The high number of tiger sharks in the nets at once was due to a whale carcass, which had washed down the coast. We know this because the Sharks Board announced that whale blubber had been found in the stomach of some of the dead animals. Which means that they had come in, fed and got caught up in the nets.

Which brings me to a very important point. Many people assume that the nets prevent dangerous sharks from coming in close to shore. They don’t. Most animals get caught in the nets going back out to sea. Nets are laid in two parallel rows approximately 400 metres offshore and in depths of 10 to 14 metres and they are open to the sea and do not enclose a beach area. Sharks can swim over, under or around the ends of the nets.

The dive operators, conservationists and NGO’s have been “fighting” to get the shark nets removed for a long time. All pleas and actions seem to fall on deaf ears. However, the continued, indiscriminate killing of marine animals cannot continue.

With this thought in mind, Cormac McCreesh from African Diver Magazine, planned and co-ordinated the Paddle Out for sharks event. Not only was the Paddle Out an honorary “funeral” for all the marine animals killed by the nets over the last 40 odd years, more importantly, it was an event to get the dive and marine conservation community to speak as one voice and start the process of discussion, consultation and negotiation with the KZN Sharks Board and the relevant municipal and government departments.

The desired outcome is that a solution that benefits all concerned parties is found and implemented. We have the ability to explore space. Surely we can come up with a mechanism to provide the adequate “safety” for humans to enjoy the sea and the beaches without killing marine animals in the process?

The good news is that the Sharks Board have opened up the lines of communication and discussion and have invited Cormac to set up a meeting with them for this week. We are eternally hopeful that this will be the first of many more open, focused, well meaning and positive discussions leading to loads of action and implementation.

When I read blogs or articles like these, I often ask myself the question, what can I do? There is no petition to be signed here. There is no NGO to make a donation to. All you should do, is to educate yourself as much as possible as to the impact that you are having directly or indirectly on our planet, pass on the message, educate as many as will listen, join a cause (if you feel compelled to) and apply pressure whichever way you can or know how to on our government to do the right thing!

We need to expose this story as much as possible. If you work for the media, TV or print, we would love the opportunity to tell this story. If you know of anyone who does, please pass onto them and raise their awareness.

In closing, just before leaving the site of the Paddle Out in Scottburgh, the nets were checked to see if any animals were caught in them. We found a dead ray with obvious signs of its battle to release itself from the nets. Given that the nets are only checked once a day, in the mornings, from Monday to Friday, who knows how long the ray had been in the nets for, possibly attracting more sharks to the area to feed off?

I guess the sea and all the animals in it doesn’t keep office hours like we do.

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Stories in the sand

There is a never-ending, timeless relationship between the sea and the sand. These two are linked as one, affecting and shaping each other as the days pass……. Read more

Golden light reflected off the sand dunes highlights the natural carvings.

Golden light reflected off the sand dunes highlights the natural carvings.

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Addo Elephant National Park

I had fun driving around the Addo Elephant National Park, one of the parks belonging to South African National Parks.

The zebras provided a brilliant opportunity for some detailed photos. I just love the striking black and white patterns and these are some of my favorites in the set.

Mohican Zebra

Close up of zebra, Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

African Zebra

Close up of zebra detail, Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

Zebra Patterns

Detail of zebra patterns, Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

I then spent some time watching a couple of warthogs who ocassionally decided to mock attach each other in an effort to establish dominance amongst the ranks.

Warthogs

A couple of warthogs head butt each other to establish dominance, Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

And then my favorite – a matriarch with some youngsters walked out of the thick bush where I had been watching them eat, onto the road. She proceeded to walk down the road providing a great rear view and opportunity for a detailed closed up shot of her, erm …. tail!

Elephant

A matriarch elephant walks down the road at Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

Elephant tail

Close up of elephant tail at Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

I had a great day at the park. If you are the Eastern Cape area, then its a MUST visit, even if you only have a few hours to spare!

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Playing with the waves

On a recent trip to Port Elizabeth, I spent some time taking photographs of the sea. The truth is I could spend hours looking at and photographing the sea….. Click for full story

Waves in Port Elizabeth

Waves in Port Elizabeth

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Durban is a surfin’

Cyclone Irina is on it’s way and is scheduled to hit the northern coasts of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa later today. I went down to the beach to check out the activity and the swells are up!

The boys were having great fun on the big waves. Hopefully tomorrow will be even bigger!

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A photo a month

Well it’s that time of the year where we look back and reflect on what we have achieved and how many of our objectives we have met. It’s also a time to look ahead and plan for the coming months, to make commitments to ourselves and set new objectives.

Regardless of how much I try to avoid this process, I always land up doing some reflection at this time of year.  Because I spend so many hours photographing and editing photographs, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on the year gone past and select an image a month to tell the story of my year – not an easy task to limit myself to only one image a month, but here goes…..

The year started off with me doing what I love most – travelling, taking photographs and spending time with Cormac.

We were visiting friends in Port Elizabeth, before travelling north into Mozambique for a few weeks of bliss. In what I have termed the year of the Sea, it is appropriate that on the 1st day of 2011, we went to Sardinia Bay in Port Elizabeth.

Sardinia - Port Elizabeth

Sardinia – Port Elizabeth

I didn’t take any photos in February, so I cheated a bit and have used one from the travels in Mozambique. We did spend a lot of time there and came back almost in Feb, so I think it counts.

We travelled around without a specific plan and did things as the mood took us. The tourists had all left, and Mozambique was almost exclusively ours to savour and enjoy. And, oh boy, we did just that!

Mozambique

Mozambique

By this time, we were toying with the idea of moving from Johannesburg to the coast. We travelled to Durban regularly to determine if this was potentially where we wanted to be. Within a short time, Cormac and I agreed that this is where we wanted to live. I had only ever been to Durban on holiday, mostly as a young child. It was exciting for me to explore this city and look at it as a potential home.

Durban beach

Durban beach

In April, we drove to Port Elizabeth again. This time we were after the world-famous annual sea migration – the sardine run. We spent days out at sea and many hours enjoying the sea life. Visiting our friends Petra and Rainer was again a highlight.

Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth

In May, my birthday month, we gave a personalised photo course and spent the day teaching and guiding at one of our favorite haunts, the Magaliesberg area. It’s always a great opportunity to have fun with the camera.

Plants in the skies

Plants in the skies

By June we were well in the process of moving to Durban. Our original plan of only moving in September was brought forward to July with serendipitous events taking place and the Universe providing us with the perfect home. I spent time with my family in anticipation of moving away from them. The first time I have done so other that when I backpacked in Europe for 9 months in 2002/2003.

Miss Gabi has some fun

Miss Gabi has some fun

On 1 July, we moved into our spacious home in Durban. Every day felt like an adventure, discovering new coffee shops, streets and spending time in and around the sea. An uncommonly cold winter and gale force winds created havoc. The Phoenix broke her moorings in extreme weather and became stranded in Salt Rock, Ballito. We just had to go and see and take some photos.

The Phoenix

The Phoenix

During our explorations of Durban and surrounds, we came across some old and derelict trains at the Inchanga station. It doesn’t take much for me to lose myself and spend hours taking photographs. The peeling paint and faded letters and numbers created amazing textures that had me enthralled for a long time.

Number 14123

Number 14123

In September we were up in Johannesburg again. In fact we have been back every month since moving to Durban. Work and family commitments have necessitated a monthly visit. One of my favorite places to take photographs of children is at the Field and Study Centre in Parkmore. On this particular day, I photographed the lovely reflections of the trees in the river.

Upside down trees in the river

Upside down trees in the river

One of the benefits of having commuted between Johannesburg and Durban on a monthly basis has been the greater appreciation of the landscape along this route. Most of the trip is done through the Orange Free State. If you time it correctly, you may be fortunate enough to experience incredible thunder storms in the perfect late afternoon light.

The perfect light

The perfect light

November month is birthday month for Cormac. I arranged a few days at the Buddhist retreat in Ixopo. We were forced to relax when our time there was highlighted by rainy, misty days, providing the perfect accompaniment to a moody, eerie forest.

Fern life

Fern life

And finally, the last month of the year saw us returning to my beloved Sodwana Bay. This is where I did my first sea dives, where I first snorkeled with whale shark and where I fell in love with the sea and all its creatures. It did not disappoint. Again the whale sharks visited us and the sea life is just as abundant and amazing as ever. However, a new favorite is the microlight flight over the Bay and Lake Sibhayi. Taking photographs from above, with limited movement and the wind blowing in your face is a challenge I look forward to doing over and over again.

Nguni cows relax on the banks of Lake Sibhayi

Nguni cows relax on the banks of Lake Sibhayi

I estimate that I took at least 10 000 photographs this year. Probably more. These include photographs taken for clients at weddings, family photo shoots, travel photos and personal ones. My predominant thought about this is that I enjoyed taking each and every single one of those photographs.

My life as a photographer forces me to travel, to meet people and to challenge myself creatively, technically and professionally every day of my life.

My conclusion – I live the perfect life.

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African wonders

A weekend in Sodwana Bay with some exquisite scuba diving, snorkeling with whale shark and a microlight flight over the area was just what I needed to “end” 2011 with.

Here are a few photos taken from the microlight flight.

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Christmas comes early for the elderly folk at John Conradie House

Yesterday, I was very privileged to be part of an event that has been the creation of a special lady by the name of Marlaine Naude.

Marlaine’s mom lives at the John Conradie House, which is one of the homes belonging to TAFTA (The Association for the Aged). It is a registered non-profit organisation dedicated to the alleviation of distress and the promotion of the welfare and happiness of aged people living in the Durban area.

6 years ago, Marlaine hosted a Christmas lunch for her Mom and 30 of her Mom’s friends at the home. A year later, the number grew to 40. That year, heartbroken because the other people in the home were looking in and asking why they had not been invited, Marlaine decided to host a Christmas lunch for everyone at the home.

Now this may sound like an easy task, but let me assure you that it’s not. Marlaine and Paul do not have the financial means to sponsor the event themselves. Sponsorship and donations as well as help from friends is required to make this event possible.

This year, Marlaine managed to raise enough money and donations so that every resident at the home (over 200) received a goodie bag full of coffee, sugar, tea, sweets, shampoo, body lotions, deodorant, to name just a few of the items. Goodie bags were also delivered to residents in assisted living and frail care who are too old or ill to attend the lunch.

The day started early for everyone involved at the event. The food had already been cooked and prepared (by Marlaine and some friends) and had to be collected and delivered to the venue. Fresh bread rolls had to be bought. Decorations set up. Tables put in place and decorated. Goodie bags put on every chair for every resident. The dining room decorated. The music system and speakers put in place for the entertainment. And Father Christmas was waiting in the wings to arrive on his Harley Davidson and make a grand entrance.

The official starting time was 12pm, but the residents were peering into the dining room from the early hours. Their anticipation was palpable and could be felt by everyone. With final checks done and redone to make sure everything was in place and nothing had been forgotten, each resident was welcomed in by Marlaine and Paul and handed a drink to take with them to their table.

The music got everyone clapping and smiling in no time. Each resident had a lucky draw number and throughout the afternoon numbers were called for “lucky dips”. Everyone got a chance. Father Christmas arrived and served the food as his little elves furiously dished up to get over 200 plates out there. The people were hungry!!

In no time, the food was gobbled up. Many could not finish the very generous portions on their plate. Dessert was next, accompanied by the melodic tunes from the bagpipes of Stacey Grundy. People sang along, they clapped and some even ventured up from their seats and danced.

With tummies full and happy smiles, many residents made their way to their rooms clutching their Christmas gifts. A few, however, were having too much fun and took full advantage of the entertainment until it was time for us to pack up and leave at 4pm.

The special gifts we received were the many warm hugs and kisses, incredible smiles of joy and many kind words given openly by these wonderful people. We were invited back. And were asked not to wait until next Christmas until we do.

To Marlaine, thank you for the opportunity to photograph and be part of such an incredible event. You are one very incredible and kind lady!

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Where do you think you are going?

I have been preparing photos to add to my website, www.dorimoreno.com, and came across this photo taken quite a while ago of two lion cubs.

It was taken at the Lion Park just outside Johannesburg. It’s a lovely place to visit, even though it’s not quite the same experience as visiting one of the big National Parks in South Africa, like the Kruger National Park. However, its a great outing for adults and children alike. If ever you are in Johannesburg, be sure to visit.

Lion Cubs at the Lion Park

Lion Cubs at the Lion Park

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Same place, different date, different view

Travelling from Johannesburg to The Drakensberg in 2004, we stopped at a petrol station to refuel. Walking around, stretching the legs, I noticed this plain white hut in an open field. What made it stand out for me was the beautiful full moon. I later learned that it was in fact a “blue” moon, which is the third full moon in a season with four full moons.

Most years have twelve full moons that occur approximately monthly. In addition to those twelve full lunar cycles, each solar calendar year contains roughly eleven days more than the lunar year of 12 lunations. The extra days accumulate, so every two or three years there is an extra full moon.

White Hut with Blue Moon (2004)

White Hut with Blue Moon (2004)

I now live in Durban, KwaZulu Natal, and commute frequently to Johannesburg and back. Yesterday, I stopped at the same petrol station and photographed the white hut, this time with no moon. The different angle, year, time of day and circumstances creates two totally different photographs.

In the age of digital photography where an image is a dime a dozen, this is a great reminder that every photograph taken is unique. Uniquely seen, uniquely experienced, uniquely taken at a unique point in time.

White Hut (2011)

White Hut (2011)

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What to do with a misty, rainy day…….

Take photographs, thats what!

Once I got over the shock of the cold and the fact that it rained non- stop, I took out the camera and went looking for photographs.

This day had presented some beautiful, mystical, surreal images to me. Suddenly an image appeared in the distance and walked straight towards me adding a crucial life element amongst all the swirling mist.

Wow…….

In the mist

In the mist

 

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Bright colours on a rainy day

It’s the rainy season in Durban. When I moved here in July, I was totally unaware that Durban had a rainy season. Well, its pretty much been raining on and off for the better part of the last 4 months.

From a photography point of view, it can get tedious waiting for those sunny days. So I took some photos yesterday, rain and all.

I love the bright African colours on this dustbin and the reflection on the puddle in front makes it doubly bright.

Just goes to show, that even on a rainy day there is always a little bit of African sunshine around!

Bright colours

Bright colours

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Image sold

I sold an image that I took in Rome in 2005. Its so exciting! Its going to be used as a vinyl to be applied onto glass at a Mama Luciana in Durban, South Africa. Very rewarding to see my images being used for interior decor.

I will post a photo of the finished product once its up, but here is the image selected.

Rome

Rome

 

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Dirty Laundry

These days we don’t keep much to ourselves anymore. Reality TV, blogging, social media applications all ensure that we live a fairly “voyeuristic” life. We know more about our friends and family through technology than we do from face to face interactions.

I wonder if the owner of these knew how she much was sharing on this day though!

Dirty laundry

Dirty laundry

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How much is that doggie in the window?

How amazingly cute is this photograph? I love the old “Noddy” car and the doggie hanging out the window!

Photo taken in Spain a few years ago, it puts a big smile on my face every time!

How much is that doggie in the window?

How much is that doggie in the window?

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Mielie Lady

During October 2010, I did a “seafari” trip from Port Elizabeth to Port St Johns. We travelled on a rubber duck (inflatable) and came in to shore every night before continuing our trip up the coast the next day.

We spent two days at Mazeppa Bay in the Transkei and got to explore and meet the people in the area. The landscape in this part of the world is extraordinary and the people live off the land and the little tourism making its way through this remote part of South Africa.

This lady welcomed us onto her land and showed us her mielie (corn) crop. I love her aged look of wisdom and serenity. I do wonder though, why she had a can of Hunters Gold hidden in her apron!

Mielie Lady

Mielie Lady

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Classic Beauty

Following on from yesterdays post of an image taken in the south of Spain which I called “Simple Beauty”, here is another one I came across today which I also particularly like.

This one for me is more of a “Classic Beauty”. It was taken in Mijas, a small town in the southern part of Spain.

Classic Beauty

Classic Beauty

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Simple Beauty

I found this photograph whilst looking for something with a “European” feel to it. I absolutely love the simplicity of it. It was taken in Nerja, a small village in the South of Spain, which is full of character and beauty.

I hope you like it as much as I do.

Simple Beauty

Simple Beauty

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A horsey day in Argentina

On a trip to Argentina in Dec 2005, I spent a day in the countryside watching the Gauchos with their horses. They have amazing horsemanship skills. There is great energy, passion and power when they handle their horses.
These photographs display some of that energy.

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Chakula Chips and the fragrance that moves you

It’s been 4 hours of sitting in the car looking at the scenery and its time to make the camera do some work and to have some fun. The car is travelling at over 100 km an hour. I certainly don’t have the time to plan a shot but my mind is in overdrive and my fingers are itching to press the shutter button.

A very fast shutter speed to compensate for the cars forward movement, a long lens and super quick reflexes are essential. I learn to anticipate pictures that are seconds away. Sometimes I am too late, but often I am not.

The fun continues when I download the photos and see things I never knew were there. Like the lady walking down the path towards the house in “Going Home” and the intense colour and energy in “Chakula Chips”.

A snippet of Africa in a fragment of time.

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Dancing with dolphins

Dolphins have the ability to lift my spirits and transform my mood immediately. As a scuba diver and lover of the sea, I have been fortunate to be in the company of these magical creatures on many occasions, yet I will never tire of their presence and their beauty.

Last year August, I did a trip of a lifetime. Rainer Schimpf from Expert Tours invited a group of us to travel from Port Elizabeth to Port St Johns on his rubber duck over a period of 8 days. Every day brought incredible interactions with the marine world, including many sighting of Humpback Whales and dolphins.

This year I am back to experience the much talked about and world famous sardine run. Every day at sea is an adventure, and even when we don’t get to see many sightings (like yesterday) I still feel a great sense of privilege to spend time out at sea.

These dolphin photos have been taken during these two trips. Hanging off the front of the boat, camera almost touching the water is challenging and strenuous work, but I love doing it nonetheless. These animals are so fast that to get the right timing to take the photo takes lots of practice. But as they say in the classics, practice makes perfect, so best I go out there and practice some more!

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Winter wonderland

Greg and Marcia – the winter wonderland continues…

Alana took some amazing photos at Greg and Marcia’s wedding on Saturday. She has posted some more for all of you to have a look at on her blog.

Enjoy and please feel free to leave comments and share with others!

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Greg, the boys and the barber

The groomsmen decided to treat Greg and themselves to a super cool, funky real barber experience. Alana, who second shot with me on the wedding day, went out to get some photos of them being groomed.

See her photos of the event here.

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Greg and Marcia’s winter wonderland

If you don’t believe that fairy tales can be created, then start believing. Greg and Marcia created a fantasy day for themselves and their 300 guests, and took everybody on a wondrous, magical ride on their wedding day……..https://morenobeam.wordpress.com/weddings/greg-and-marcias-winter-wonderland/

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

 

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Cobus and Bianca – Diep in die Berg

Cobus and Bianca tied the knot at Diep in die Berg, deeply in love, but totally relaxed and chilled…..https://morenobeam.wordpress.com/weddings/cobus-and-bianca-diep-in-die-berg/

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Studio photos – October 2010

Things are hotting up at the studio. I recently went on a spending splurge and bought a whole lot of new props for the studio. I love trying out new things and letting the kids have fun as I take loads of photographs. However, I still find the trick is to keep it simple. Less is more, all the time and every time. There is nothing I like less than a cluttered picture. So the search is constantly on for fun, colourful but stylish props. Yet most of the time, the best props are the faces and expressions the children make themselves. Enjoy this small selection of photos taken this month.

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A year in the studio – lessons learned along the way

A year ago, I took the plunge and opened my own photographic studio. I was fortunate to have secured a great location and a number of events orchestrated by the universe, pushed me gently in this direction. A year later, I reflect on the lessons that I have learned during the course of the last year…………..Read More

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Let the music continue – Be Sharp Beetles

Yesterday I wrote about my experience taking photographs at Be Sharp Beetles, a music education programme for children from birth to eight years. The three classes that I took photographs at yesterday were of the “little ones”, a few months old to 2 years.

This afternoon I went back to take photographs at their more “senior” classes, children aged 3 years and more. It was interesting for me to see the difference in interaction at the classes of the children of different ages.

Whilst yesterday, the little kids played and danced around with a lot of interaction and involvement from the parents, today the older kids did the exercises on their own.

It is fascinating to see how at the age of 3, the children are already able to beat out a simple rhythm on a djembe drum and are starting to vocalize words in Sotho and other African languages. English and Afrikaans are used interchangeably throughout the class, ensuring that the children gain an appreciation for different languages.

There is a lot of movement, waving of arms, walking, dancing, sharing, singing and laughing. The children are left to participate at their own pace. The shy ones sit quietly until such time as they feel comfortable to join in. The more outgoing ones express themselves openly. There is no pressure to perform and the kids leave the class having had a great time.

The parents that I spoke to all spoke highly of the programme and confirmed that their children love the classes and would not miss them for anything. It’s amazing that learning and developing can be so much fun.

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Music for children and for the soul

I am a night owl and stay up late. One of the benefits of being self employed, is that I can choose to wake up late, which suits me just fine. So when my alarm went off at 6am this morning, I grumbled and moaned and wondered why on earth I had committed to going to Be Sharp Beetles to take photographs for their website.

Within 10 minutes of the first class, I had a broad grin on my face and was oh, so chuffed to be there. A combination of music and young children have a magical effect on me, and I spent 3 of the most fun filled hours in a long time.

Be Sharp Beetles assists children development through percussion play, drumming, cultural rhymes and stories as well as exposure to English, Afrikaans. Sotho and Zulu. Liesel is a talented musician and actress and keeps the kids enthralled for the full hour that they are there.

It’s a fantastic way for parents (Mom or Dad) to bond with their child, whilst having great fun, and know that their child is developing and learning in the process.

This is what Be Sharp Beetles say about themselves:

Be Sharp Beetles is a Music Education programme that develops children from birth to eight years of age. The original music and lesson are specifically written to include a variety of music and song styles, cultures and languages that will stimulate and encourage your child to grow.

All I can say is that I am oh, so chuffed to be going back again tomorrow to photograph some more of their classes.

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Port Elizabeth to Port St Johns Epic Expedition – Day 2

After a relaxed and quiet evening in Port Alfred, it was an early start again to make our way to East London. Even though the weather forecast had promised much of the same perfect weather as the previous day, the day started off overcast and gloomy although the sea was still on best behaviour.

By mid morning, the clouds had cleared and the skies were a resplendent blue once again. The morning was quiet in terms of activity, but soon all that changed when we came across a pod of dolphins, spread out over a vast area with a lot of bird activity going on around them at the same time.

Everyone on the boat kitted up and got excited at the prospect of some hunting – sardine run activity. We remained with the dolphins for hours and they kept us entertained swimming along the bow of the boat and surfing the waves.

Then the whales started arriving. At first we spotted a couple and soon it was up to seven humpback whales within sight of the boat. With all the activity in the water around the dolphins, we were all hopeful of some whale sightings underwater and we were not disappointed.

At around 3pm we sailed into East London and I could hardly believe that seven hours at sea had passed so quickly. Everyone was looking forward to a hot shower but could not wait to download the photos of the day and swop stories over a cold beer.

And guess what? We get to do it all again tomorrow!

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Port Elizabeth to Port St Johns Epic Expedition – Day 1

Today was the first stage of our ten day “seafari”. An early rise at 5am and on the RIB in the water by 7am was the start of the day. We had hardly let Port Elizabeth’s harbour and had already come across a big pod of bottlenose dolphin and some Southern Right Whales. The day had started off brilliantly.

Flat seas and warm, windless conditions were the order of the day. Yes, I too am amazed at the weather. The sea was as flat as a pancake and I couldn’t have felt happier as we motored along looking for sea creatures big and small.

Our adventure is an exploratory one made up of a bunch of keen photographers and sea enthusiasts out to enjoy the bounty that South Africa has to offer. And what a bounty that is! By the end of our 8 hour voyage by sea we had seen 3 different types of whales – Southern Right, Humpbacks and Brydes whale. Now where in the world can you experience something similar?

The trip has been put together by Cormac McCreesh, editor of African Diver and by Rainer Schimpf, owner of  Expert Tours based in Port Elizabeth. Both are extremely passionate about marine life and the sea. The rest of us are along for the ride, the fun and the experience.

We stopped off at Bird Island, which is managed by SANPARKS for which we had to get special permission to visit. The island is inhabited by a vast number of breeding penguins and gannets. It has a lighthouse dating back to 1852. The breathtaking climb to the top of the lighthouse was matched by equally breathtaking views from up top.

Close to Bird Island is another island with loads of breeding seals. They kept us entertained with their antics in the water for quite a while. As this is a protected area, we were unable to join them for some underwater photographic opportunities. Nonetheless, we had just as much fun watching and snapping away from the boat.

Just as we thought the excitement for the day was well and truly over, we came across two Humpback Whales with newly born calves. Relaxed and playful, these gentle giants graced us with their antics for a long time. By the time we rolled into Port Alfred harbour, it was plain to see from the broad grins on all our faces that the day was a huge success. And the best part – we get to do it all over again tomorrow!

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Red Sea and Cairo

I have just returned from an amazing holiday diving in the Red Sea, in Dahab and a visit to Cairo. Diving from a live aboard is a great experience. The focus in no particular order is on diving, eating, sleeping and socialising. The dive sites are varied and I could quite easily have spend 3 weeks on the boat exploring and enjoying this underwater treasure.

Dahab was interesting and I was excited to dive the famous Blue Hole. Unfortunately the amount of trash to be seen everywhere was very off putting and saddened me. It seems wherever we go on this planet, we leave an unsightly and awful trace of our presence. However, we spend a few very enjoyable evenings sitting on the floor on plush cushions eating the local delicacies. The fleas were also plush, due to huge number of stray cats and dogs frequenting the restaurants looking for food morsels!! Walking along the long promenade, scratching our newly acquired flea bites, taking in the atmosphere was quite an experience.

I last visited Cairo ten years ago and had forgotten how majestic the pyramids are. Even fighting off the 40 degree heat, the 90 percent humidity and the 100 percent bug factor of vendors harassing us, we still felt awed when standing at the base of the great pyramids of Giza. The Egyptology museum is a must see. Be warned though, take the headsets or risk being thrown out by not so friendly guards.

I love traveling and I love travel stories. It’s what makes every place, every experience unique.

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2010 World Cup Fever!!!!

I have been waiting for the World Cup to arrive ever since the announcement was made that it would be hosted in South Africa. It’ s difficult to get excited about something happening so far into the future. But now, the World Cup is upon us, and in just 2 more sleeps, South Africa will face Mexico in the kick off game of the 2010 World Cup. And South Africa has woken up and is alive with energy, passion and enthusiasm.

Today, the Bafana Bafana team took to the streets of Sandton, Johannesburg in an open top bus. South African fans came out en masse to celebrate and get a glimpse of their national team. The vibe was indescribable and when the Soweto Marimba Youth League played the national anthem, I confess to being moved to tears from the sheer emotion and energy of the event.

I think even the die hard pessimists out there will struggle not to get caught up in the positive energy that will carry us all on a cloud for the next month. To everyone out there, I say, ENJOY! To all the visitors to our awesome country, feel it, live it and fall in love. Its time for AFRICA!!!!

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